The Praslin Sea Moss Farmers’ Association has finally penetrated the international market and is looking forward to making further inroads into that arena in the near future.
Last month, the association shipped 600 pounds of sun-dried sea moss to Miami and has another order for 1000 pounds.
In addition to sun-dried sea moss, the association also produces juices of various flavours including ginger, sorrel, guava, peanuts and passion fruit, using sea moss, for the local market.
The association is now looking forward to producing additional products from sea moss, such as ice cream, icicles and fertilizer, just to name a few.
Residents of Praslin, a small fishing community in Micoud, have been cultivating sea moss individually for a number of years, until 1994, when a group of them decided to form an association, which currently comprises of over 100 members.
In an interview with this reporter, Production Manager of the Association, Greta Joseph said a number of their members have been trained in sea moss cultivation by the Department of Fisheries, and it has paid off.
“It was a very good initiative. It has helped the association,” she said.
According to Joseph, forming the association was not an easy task, adding that the members had to make a sacrifice of taking a loan to start it. She expressed that sea moss cultivation is their livelihood in Praslin, adding that a number of persons in the community, who were once banana farmers, are now sea moss farmers. The Association’s Production Manager said she would like to see sea moss measure up, and even surpass previous and current successes of bananas in Saint Lucia, because of its potential to earn much foreign exchange.
Due to the benefits of sea moss cultivation to the local economy, Joseph said she wants to see more people go into sea moss farming, particularly young people. There were lots of benefits to be derived from sea moss, and as such, she also hoped to see the consumption of sea moss drinks increase in Saint Lucia.
“Sea moss has great nutritional value and is very good for our health. I constantly read about its importance…” she said. “We are willing to train the young people to get into it.”
With the support of members of the community, Joseph says she is confident that their market will grow significantly in the near future.